6 years ago Andegeko 0
Hey there, I’m Tomer Andegeko. I’m 16 years old and I am a CTeen leader from Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is my first time writing for Cteen Connection, so let me tell you a little bit about myself. I was born in Israel in Petach Tikvah and I grew up in Ramat Hasharon until I was six years old. Living in Israel, Hebrew became my first language, and I still speak it at home with my family to make sure I don’t lose it. A little after I turned six, my family and I moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan and I’ve been here ever since. I was only in the middle of Kindergarten, and I was really scared to move to a new country. I took English lessons a little before I got here, so I thought I was ready but nothing in Israel could’ve ever prepared me for full conversations in English with native speakers. I still remember my first couple of weeks of school. I got there in the middle of the year in Kindergarten, not knowing more than how to say cat, dog, man, and maybe count to 10. My mom had to write out a little translation book for me of things and phrases I might have to say. She drew a little picture of it and wrote out a pronunciation key for me in Hebrew of how to say that English word or phrase.
Here in the U.S., I started playing basketball. I barely knew how to catch, but I knew that I really wanted to just be able to make it in the regular sized hoop. I remember shooting at a hoop in the gym my family went to and someone’s missed shot came down to smash my glasses and give me a bloody nose. That was when I was 6, today at 16 I still have those kinds of problems getting hit in the glasses, especially from hard passes I don’t see coming. Throughout elementary school, all of my friends were playing football. I didn’t even understand it. To me, football was just a physical sport that made no sense. Then in 8th grade I finally got convinced to try it out. I played it for three years and I had a lot of good experiences that I would’ve never had if I wouldn’t have given it a shot. I also carry around a big tuba in the marching band.
CTeen has impacted my life tremendously since I joined. It’s been so welcoming, and now I have friends that I can’t even remember life without them or imagine a few days without talking to them. CTeen is so great for me because it gives me a place where I can meet up with Jewish teens from my city, that doesn’t have a lot, and we can all just be proud to be Jewish together and learn about our history and our religion and have fun while doing it. Being a CTeen leader has helped me be a better Jew and also in school where I’ve been the class president for the past three years.
This year in CTeen Connection, I’m going to be writing about a lot of different subjects like CTeen, Israel, and just a lot of other cool stuff. I’m really looking forward to this year in CTeen Connection, and I can’t wait to see all of you at the Shabbaton this February.